Khyrunnisa A. Illustrations by Meenakshi Iyer

Filled with word plays, a bit of silliness and a lot of fun, The Crocodile Who Ate Butter Chicken for Breakfast and Other Stories is a collection of short stories which centres around animals, and the people around them.


Reviewed by: Vishesh Unni Raghunathan
Jerry Pinto. Illustrations by Kripa. Hindi translation by Sandhya Gandhi Vakil

The Art Gallery on Princess Street is a historical biography of the world famous art Gallery of Modern art–Bombay’s Gallery Chemould. Earlier art was confined to traditional depiction of people, buildings and animals. The most famous genre of art was Mughal paintings or miniature painting.


Reviewed by: Indira Bagchi
Rick Riordan

Ten years ago, the famous children’s author Rick Riordan, of Percy Jackson fame, published The Lost Hero, the first book in his The Heroes of Olympus series. It was an instant hit. It caused a whole lot of young readers like me to fall in love with Greek and Roman mythology.


Reviewed by: Serena Shah
Anu-Chowdhury-Sorabjee. Illustrations by Kalyan Joshi. Translated from the original English by Madhu B. Joshi

The original story titled A Camel for Kelam (Guest Editor Shabnam Minwala) and its Hindi translation, as the Hindi title makes it clear, Kelam ko Chahiye Oont, is about an animal-lover, Pabuji who lives in Rajasthan, and his niece Kelam who also loved animals. But her heart is set on a camel.


Reviewed by: Chandra Chari
Sheela Preuitt and Prabha Ram. Illustrations by Ashok Rajagopalan

Can you taste with your toes? Or see with your ears? Or, at least, smell with your hair? No? Well, there are creatures around you that can!

Take a peek into an intriguing world to discover the different ways in which animals do things that are ‘normal’. And look out for the funny bits in the pictures!.


Reviewed by: Veena Zutshi
Nizrana Farook

The Girl Who Stole an Elephant is an extremely imaginative and captivating read. It has healthy doses of adventure, bravery, friendship, wilderness all thrown in. What attracted me to the book first was that the protagonist was a girl about my age.


Reviewed by: Kriti Kidambi
Mamta Naini. Illustrations by Sandhya Prabhat

A Saree for Ammi is a short, heartwarming story set in Kota, Rajasthan. It is a story of the humble existence of a weaver’s family and narrates how his two young daughters put their mother’s happiness over their own. It teaches the reader a little about making of a saree–from dyeing the threads to weaving.


Reviewed by: Rachana Mannar
Anonymous. Illustrations by Niharika Shenoy

Shaljam is an instance of a predictive tale as it constructs itself on a repetitive anticipated pattern. It is a Russian folk tale, often translated as ‘The Giant Turnip’, collected by Alexander Afanasyev. Such folk tales are also called cumulative tales or chain tales since they form a string of recurring verses.


Reviewed by: Sakshi Dogra
Story and illustrations by Indu Harikumar. Translated into Hindi by Dipali Shukla. Design by Kanak Shashi. Edited by Bharat Tripathi

Cut Piece Kumar, a bilingual e-book in English and Hindi by Indu Harikumar, is meant for pre-teenagers who generally love to try their hands at creative arts. The book is about a young boy Kumar who can turn junk into beautiful and useful things.


Reviewed by: Jaya Krishnamachari
Mohammad Sajid Khan. Illustrations by Saurabh Pandey

This is a story about the journey of a sprig from a neem tree. Separated from its tree and transported away by the wind, it recalls all that had been and fears what will become of it.


Reviewed by: -
Vinita Krishna. Illustrations by Shashi Shetye. Translated into Hindi by Vinatha Viswanathan

Pichki is happy to push her way out of the ground into the fresh air only to find that as she grows into a neem tree she is rejected again and again, as smelly, bitten by flies, mosquitoes, caterpillars and even birds. Hurt, she however finds redemption when her healing powers.


Reviewed by: -
Chatura Rao. Illustrations: Proiti Roy

Only Fools Go To School by Chatura Rao is based on a beautiful story that deals with the adventures of a little boy named Sambha, who is initially very reluctant to go to school. He feels that the school is for fools and hence spends most of his time outside.


Reviewed by: Rafia Reshi
Shyam Susheel. Illustrations by Shubham Lakhera. Design by Ishita Devnath Biswas. Edited by Seema

All the books reviewed below from Eklavya have easy concepts and plots, with simple sentences, easy for children in primary classes to read and understand. Illustrations are good and relate with the story. They capture the ambience of the different environs that the stories are set in.


Reviewed by: -
Saumyak Ghoshal. Illustrations by Proiti Roy

A child’s universe, where the bird and animal kingdom is as much a part of existence as the reassuring  presence of Mummy-Papa.

Author Saumyak Ghoshal has beautifully evoked Piku’s mental landscape populated by sparrows and squirrels, cats and lizards, moths and mosquitos.  The shadow-play of daylight and darkness impacts Piku, like any other child, at a deeper level.


Reviewed by: Rekha Bhimani
Adithi Rao. Illustrations by Krishna Bala Shenoi. Hindi translation by Rishi Mathur

Chuchu Manthu’s Jar of Toffees, which first appeared on Pratham Books’ digital platform ‘Story Weaver’, is a cute story with an intriguing title which will  at once attract children  and motivate them to pick up the book and  read it.


Reviewed by: Indira Bagchi
Rinchin. Illustrations by Vipul Verma

Stories that connect a child to mother-nature are precious indeed.The Goolar Flower is one such story-book.

Renchu a little rag-picker girl is set off in search of a mythical ‘flower’–Goolar,  by her elder sibling Pirku and her pal Saanish.


Reviewed by: Rekha Bhimani

2020

As an editor of Indian books for children and young adults…


Reviewed by:
Shannon Messenger

In the lockdown, I read the entire Keeper of the Lost Cities series, written by Shannon Messenger.  There are eight books in total in the series. I was encouraged to read it by my dear friend
Shriya Kothari, and since we have similar tastes in books, I decided.


Reviewed by: Serena Shah
Nishith Mehta

Eklavya, as we all know, is a non-profit NGO engaged in the creation and dissemination of educational resources among children who need them most. In partnership with Parag, an initiative of Tata Trusts, they have been creating books suitable for use by children in India’s.


Reviewed by: -
Rinchin. Illustrations by Kanak Shashi. Translated from the original English by Sushil Joshi, Varsha and Shashi Sublok. Edited by Seema

The book under review consists of seven stories, based on rural backgrounds. The people’s struggle to save their small landholdings from the sharks from the urban areas form the basis of the stories. ‘Chudail ka Nashta’, ‘Me Mor Jamin Bachawat Hun.


Reviewed by: -
Kavita Tiwari, Kanak Shashi and Sajitha Nair. Illustrations by Kanak Shashi. Cover design by Bindu Joseph, Rahul and Bharat

Mera Khachchar Danda Hai is a collection of 40 poems and pictures by children, written over a period of thirty-four years  and published in various issues of Chakmak, a children’s magazine. One page in every issue has been devoted to children’s writings and illustrations, the column titled  ‘Mera Panna’.


Reviewed by: Aruna Patel Vajpeyi
Kamla Bhasin. Illustrations by Priya Kuriyan

‘Are all girls alike? Should all girls be alike? It would be boring if they were!’Satrangi Ladkiyaan/Satrangi Ladke, an illustrated flip (picture) book for young children, written by feminist activist, poet and author Kamla Bhasin and illustrated by Priya Kuriyan, through its simple narrative.


Reviewed by: Rabani Garg
Samina Mishra

Samina Mishra’s Hina in Purani Dilli  takes the reader on a fantastic journey through the by-lanes of the old city of Delhi. The book weaves together, with a documentary lens, history, geography and sociology as it goes from Hina’s school housed in a medieval haveli.


Reviewed by: Bharati Jagannathan
Jerry Pinto. Illustrated by Maithili Joshi

Anya and her Baby Brother is a tiny book which narrates a story much heavier than it feels like. Anya is a young girl who is miffed with her mother because ever since her special younger brother came along, his needs have taken priority over her. But how do the readers know this? Because Anya is sharing.


Reviewed by: Jerry Pinto. Illustrated by Maithili Joshi

2020

It seemed a strange idea to begin with…


Reviewed by:
Andy Griffiths. Illustrated by Terry Denton

As I was leafing through the pages of this book, I was struck by how they reminded me of the fairy-tales I used to read as a child. The contents of this work are, of course, diametrically different from those of an ordinary fairy tale. Teeming with caricatures.


Reviewed by: Gulbahar Shah
Evan Purcell

This middle-grade novel on zombies is actually a fun read and is suitable for 8-12 year-olds. It is the second book in a series that stars Karma Tandin, Monster Hunter and is set in a village in Bhutan. Twelve-year-old Karma is ‘not the bravest or the smartest kid’ but has decided.


Reviewed by: Padma Baliga
Penny Chrimes

Fly is short for Blow-fly–the name given by her employer Black Bill when he got her as a baby from the workhouse. Born a maggot, and grown up into a dirty fly is what he tells her. Scrawny, spunky Fly lives up to her name as she shinnies up and down the chimneys Bill makes her clean to earn a living.


Reviewed by: Deepa Balsavar
Sudha Murty. Illustrations by Priyanka Pachpande

Lying on the terrace under the starry night sky, my lockdown companion recounted her childhood days in a small town of the then Andhra Pradesh. She was nostalgic about sleeping under the open sky listening to mythical tales told by her grandfather.


Reviewed by: Manika Kukreja
Anushka Ravishankar. Illustrations by Priya Kuriyan

Hey Diddle Diddle is classic Anushka Ravishankar, the whimsical literary nonsense approach that actually packs in a lot of sense. Think about it, it’s a story about a well-known nonsense nursery rhyme that comes true, well, almost. The cow may not have jumped over.


Reviewed by: Samina Mishra
Lubaina Bandukwala. Illustrated by Sonal Gupta

After taking over Instagram and Bookstagram and winning hearts everywhere, is it any wonder that cats have begun to dominate children’s books too?

They say the world is split between dog people and cat people, and currently, if you look at children’s books and the pets that feature in them.


Reviewed by: Padma Baliga
Ahmad Raza Ahmadi. Illustrations by Nahid Kazmi

All published by Jugnu Prakashan, an imprint of Takshashila Education Society, Bhopal

Children are often seen as insulated from the world’s worries and continue to live in a world of make-believe and fantasy. This world is far removed from life’s realities that can be harsh and damaging for the child. Print and electronic media developed.


Reviewed by: Toolika Wadhwa
Pramod Padwal and Umesh Kumar

I must admit that as a reader of adult Marathi books and as a translator I was really looking forward to reading children’s stories from Marathi literature. I was also wondering how the distinctive flavour of Marathi humour, turn of phrase, and cultural references would be communicated to a young Hindi reader.


Reviewed by: Sandhya Gandhi-Vakil
Nandita Basu

The Piano is an unusual book. A graphic novel that draws you in immediately, it tells the story of a young girl Meera who is alone and wants nothing more than a friend in her life. It begins with her writing a letter to God, asking for a friend. And then.


Reviewed by: Andaleeb Wajid
y Sanjeev Jaiswal ‘Sanjay’. Illustrations by Ankur Mitra

Sanjeev Jaiswal’s Red Sun Ke Alien is a science-fiction (sci-fi) mystery drama novella. Sci-fi is one of the popular genres of  literature whose content is imaginative, but based on science. It relies heavily on scientific facts, theories, and principles as support.


Reviewed by: Sanjeev Jaiswal ‘Sanjay’. Illustrations by Ankur Mitra
Harshikaa Udasi

This book was like revisiting my childhood and the boys’ all at once. The story is set in Deolali (Maharashtra) and echoes the memories of our childhood. The excitement of being in a new place, the thrill and apprehension of meeting new people and having to make new


Reviewed by: Tanu Shree Singh
Swapna Dutta

Shadows in the Snow is an intriguing book filled with a certain air of mystery, even though there is no suspense on the surface as such. The atmosphere of Darjeeling created by the author captures the essence of those hills perfectly. The descriptions of waterfalls.


Reviewed by: Ilika Trivedi
Kay S.

‘For most, school begins with crayons, satchels and tears. But for Ananya, it began with smiles and a lipstick.’

This delightful children’s novel recounting a young girl’s adventures in a private boarding school opens by describing the delight of its protagonist Ananya Patel.


Reviewed by: Rohini Rangachari
Tanu Shree Singh. Illustrations by Sandhya Prabhat

Here is a complete package of real life conflict, love and hope attractively coloured by gloom of darkness to sparkle of Light. The unusual title—Darkless–invokes curiosity because there is no such word in the dictionary, still it manages to convey a whole depth of meaning as the story completes.


Reviewed by: Ira Saxena
Manoj Das. Illustrations by Sisir Datta

‘Long, long ago there was a kingdom called the Golden Valley, nestling amidst evergreen forests.’ Manoj Das’s book opens in the manner the best fairy tales do–by evoking an idyllic sylvan world where ‘everyone lives happily’.  However, he says, even in Golden Valley,..


Reviewed by: Padma Baliga
Devika Rangachari

‘History tells us what people do. Historical fiction helps us imagine how they felt.’ Jean M Auel

Queen of Earth is a gender bending narrative of a spunky queen, appropriate to our times.

Kalinga of the seventh century is a vast land ruled by two adversaries, the Somavamsha and the Bhaumakaras.

The fate of a young princess caught in their crossfire is expertly depicted by Devika Rangachari in Queen of Earth.


Reviewed by: Sumitra Kannan

A doption is not an alien concept to Indians…


Reviewed by:
Varsha Seshan

Sisters at New Dawn by Varsha Seshan is a coming-of-age story of two sisters, Padma and Kannagi Shankar. Most of the action of the story takes place at New Dawn, a high school that is committed to fostering values of ‘honesty, integrity, justice’ in the students enrolled there.


Reviewed by: Sakshi Dogra
Aparna Karthikeyan. Illustrations by Sagar Kolwankar

A cardboard box appears on the beach, a wet wriggling cardboard box. What does it contain?

Woof! Adventures by the Sea narrates the life of Mumbai’s homeless dogs on the beach. A new puppy is discovered and helped by the pack of resident dogs and large-hearted humans, given a name and a sense of belonging.


Reviewed by: Shailaja Srinivasan
Sophia Khan. Illustrations by Arapaie Black

Some of South Asian literature’s most lauded works belong to the fascinating category of Sci-fi/Dystopian Fiction. It already existed even before its so-called definitions came to the forefront. Resurgence and increasing acclaim of western sci-fi fiction.


Reviewed by: Shuby Abidi
Satyajit Ray. Translated from the original Bengali by Satyajit Ray and Indrani Majumdar

Bengali Renaissance had contributed significantly to the literary works and the cultural resurgence in India between the nineteenth and twentieth century. Even before the movements like ‘Prakalpana’ and the Little Magazine Movement gained momentum in twentieth-century Bengal.


Reviewed by: Sabah Hussain
Shefali Jha and Rekharaj. Illustrations by Chinan and K.P. Rezi. Translated from the original English into Hindi by Swayam Prakash

Itihaas ki Atmayein is a collection of two stories from English into Hindi, namely, Badshah, Mera Dost (My Friend, The Emperor) by Shefali Jha and Pyaari Atmayein (Beloved Spirits), by Rekharaj. The former narrates the story of a young boy Adil who is disinterested in the subject history.


Reviewed by: Sakshi Dogra
Nayanika Mahtani

What is a solitary, hastily drawn line capable of? Could this line impact millions of lives, and, ultimately, generations to come?

Nayanika Mahtani’s Across The Line dwells on such a topic, and is inarguably my best fortuitous read in a long time. A tour-de-force in its own right.


Reviewed by: Shreyas Vadrewu
Anita Roy

Joseph Srinivas wakes up one day to find that things aren’t quite right. He hasn’t jumped through a closet door, nor got a special letter—he just happens to find himself in a strange new place. He is greeted by Mishi, a fellow transitioner who guides him through Gravepyres.


Reviewed by: Vishesh Unni Raghunathan